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16 May 2019

Home Video Review: While Technically Impressive, Gaspar Noé's 'Climax' Is a Violent Slog

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A scene from Climax. A scene from Climax.

Writer, director and certified nutball Gaspar Noé (Enter the Void, Irreversible) makes another technically impressive movie with Climax—but this one comes up short in the narrative category.

The film chronicles a crazed night for a dance troupe that winds up drinking a bowl full of sangria spiked with LSD. Rather than exploring the comedic aspects of a dance troupe freaking out, Noe goes for straight-up violent horror, and the movie doesn’t come together in the end.

The audience has no emotional investment in any of these characters, so when they go from vivid (and impressive) dancing to nasty behavior, it feels hollow.

Noé is interested in impressive technical feats, with numerous scenes strung together in one shot. The camera trickery is awesome, for sure, but here, it’s at the service of a generally flat, unimaginative story. Only the numerous dance scenes really pop.

The setup could have elicited prime Noé (Enter the Void was amazing), but Climax winds up feeling like a long, boring improvisational piece laced with hallucinogens. It could have been funny and crazy, but it turned out to be a real slog.

Climax is available via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com; it will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 27.

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